Black & White

There is a challenge going around on Facebook. Seven Photos for seven days. Each day you post a black and white picture from your daily life, with no explanation. No kids, no pets.

Today I was nominated to participate. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t just do it myself… I wanted to do it, I “liked” every post that I saw (that was participating) in hopes that someone would nominate me. I think it’s kinda funny that it happened today because the writing prompt for today was identity.

I’ve struggled for a long time with the concept of identity and actually, with the concept of black and white thinking (all or nothing- either/or vs both/and) so to get both of those things on the same day… I knew I had to post.

For a few years, “photographer” was a big part of my identity. Not nearly as long as “writer” but I almost took more pride/joy in the role of photographer. As a writer, fear got in my way so much… I was afraid to write. I was afraid to submit anything anywhere. Once I finally did, when I wound up with a rejection, it was paralyzing. The worst time being, I’d quit writing for almost a year. I was miserable. With photography though, it was instant gratification. Pictures were digital, parents were happy, I felt accomplished. Plus, I met some really cool people.

And then it happened. Whatever “it” was or is. The problems with my back. And my legs. The fibromyalgia, the chronic fatigue. I couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t think I could go back to it either. Not as a job, anyway. But it was nice to go out and do something fun, snap a photo and be able to post it.

Thank God I’m back to my writing!

The “feature photograph” is the one I took and posted on Facebook. What do you think?

 

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Bridging the Gap

via Daily Prompt: Record

I had an amazing dream Saturday night. I’m writing about it in conjunction with the daily word prompt because I want to remember this, I want to record it, so I’ll have it always.

I normally remember my dreams and they are always vivid and detailed… they were nothing compared to what I experienced Saturday night.

It started with me waking up (in the dream) in my bed at my parents’ house because I was going into labor.

I ran up the stairs to Natalie’s room because she’s the loudest. I whispered her name as I shook her shoulders.

“Nat… Nat… Hey, wake up. I think I just went into labor…”

She layed there, unaffected.

Then her eyes opened wide and she flew out of bed.

“Ok, ok, don’t panic. I’ll tell mom and dad, you get to the hospital.”

Next thing I knew, I was in a bed in the hospital with a doctor who bore a striking resemblance to George Gaynes (the dad from Punky Brewster and Cmdt. Eric Lassard in the Police Academy movies).

Everything I did was wrong. I showed up to early, then I was too late. He wanted to do surgery, he wanted to send me home… I was so stressed out and overwhelmed. Luckily, Shar was there and she took me and my bed for a stroll around the hospital. I called my therapist and weighed the pros and cons of each possibility and by the time we hung up, I felt much better.

Then it was time to go back into the room. I felt sick.

By the time we got there, though, it was time for shift change! I didn’t see the same doctor. This one was much younger and looked a little like David Caruso, from CSI Miami. I don’t even watch that show so I don’t know why he’s making a cameo…

Anyway. Doctor David did an ultrasound. Because the previous doctor did not but knew enough that my baby had no heartbeat.

“Here it is, see? That pulsating color around his body, that’s his heart beating.”

I started to cry.

“Would you like a picture?” He asked

“You can do that?”

“Sure, let me show you.”

He connected a small camera wire to one of my IV’s (?) and feed it down through to my stomach.

“There he is, see?”

And I saw him. Tiny, pink and perfect.

“He just waved at you” the doctor said.

“Now, for a more serious subject. Do you want to have another C-Section or do you want to try to give birth to him naturally?”

I’m sure there are not a lot of people who sign up for going through childbirth when given the choice but I’ve always felt cheated, I guess by Tayla’s birth being an emergency C-section.

“If I can, I’d like to try to do it naturally” I said

He smiled and said he’d get a couple of nurses to help. As he turned to leave, I grabbed the sleeve of his coat. He turned around and sat down next to me.

“I just wanted to say thank you. You are the complete opposite of my previous doctor and exactly what I need right now.”

He patted my hand.

Then, I had to pee.

I hopped down and waddled off toward the bathroom. I don’t know how long I was gone but when I came back, he’d been born! Sort of.

I hopped back up onto the bed and the doctor asked if I wanted to see him.

“Yes!”

Shar gently picked him up, he was still in the amniotic fluid, the sac was still sealed and she placed him on my chest.

I could make out facial feature and then I felt something wet. The water had started to leak. It was draining so fast… I screamed for the doctor who reassured me it was ok.

“It will only break when he’s ready”

I tried to slow down my breathing and within a few moments, there he was. We were touching skin to skin. He started to wiggle and without using his arms, just arching his back, he looked up at me and smiled.

I lingered in that moment for a long time. Everyone just faded into the background until it was just the two of us. I remember thinking (in the dream) “is this Noah? If it’s not, can I still use the name Noah? Has he been reincarnated? Come back to me?”

I was pulled out of this dream state fogginess by Don asking me where the car seat was. People were coming and going and at one point I looked down into his blanket and he was gone.

I was hysterical. I looked all over for him and when I finally found him, he was in a hospital crib, where he was supposed to be.

At this point, I think I was starting to wake up because I had the thought that he was safe and where he was supposed to me and would be waiting for me.

In DBT therapy we talk about “what was the missing experience”? While my doctors weren’t quite as bad as they had been in the dream, it was so nice to get to “experience” a doctor who really cared, deeply. It was nice to have the option of delivery vs c section. It was amazing to see and feel this little baby on me, not having been taken away before I got a chance to see her. This baby was healthy. This baby was safe. This baby was… is waiting for me.

It’s Time

via Daily Prompt: Nervous

It’s time. Not to let go per se, or even move on… it’s just time to get back into what I was doing before Noah, before Natalie.

Specifically, it’s time for me to get back into comedy. I did my one stand up act at Acme in June and haven’t been anywhere since.

Prior to that, I’ve done open mic nights at Acme Comedy Club, Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy and The Joke Joint. I made it my new year’s resolution to get out at least once a month to do comedy. Nope, not yet.

I’ve been going back and forth, do I want to do this? I am even capable of doing this? It would be good to swing back to the lighter side but nothing even feels funny… So, maybe I have to act opposite my depression and get out there anyway. Do I wait until I feel better to call a friend or do I call a friend and then feel better?

Getting back into writing comedy has been in the back of my mind, not the way back but further than it should’ve been. Until yesterday. I got an email from House of Comedy at the Mall of America. They are running their “Funniest Person with a Day Job” contest.

I thought, ok, here’s that little nudge I need to get me going. I went to the website to sign up and found there is an application process! I’ve never had to do that before. Usually, I submit my name and they email me back with a date and time, that’s it.

This application wants me to describe my act, tell them what makes me different than other performers, let them know of any needs upfront… I don’t know. It just felt daunting. Surprising. I thought about it for a day and about half an hour ago, I submitted my application.

Now for the fun part: ready, get set, WAIT!

Meditation vs Rumination

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via Daily Prompt: Ruminate

Ruminate: to meditate on; ponder.

Meditate: to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.

By their very definition, these two words look interchangeable. I’m not exactly sure what the difference is, only that for me, meditation has a positive connotation vs rumination, which I associate more with being “stuck in my head” or spinning my wheels.

Meditation is something that is good for you, rumination is not. That’s how I’ve seen it. Looking up the definitions today and thinking about it a little, I wonder if the difference isn’t in the intention…

Over these last 10 months, I’ve tried to keep up on my relationship with my sister, despite the obvious barriers.

For months I would ask her to come visit me in my dreams. I’d fall asleep holding her picture or set her music on repeat so even subconsciously I’d be in a place to receive her. While I’ve had tons of signs that she’s around me, I wanted to see her face. I wanted to interact with her.

Radio silence.

Until last night.

The details are fuzzy now but I was running from someone or something in a mall. I saw an empty corner, squished myself in and slid down the walls. I buried my head in my folded arms and sobbed.

I was soon interrupted by a light tapping on my shoulder.

I looked up and I saw her.

The song “These Dreams” by Heart played overhead.

She was … Radiant. Stunning. Healthy.

Of course she was.

I scrambled to get to my feet and I lunged for her, grabbing her tight to me.

I woke up and while this past year has felt like a nightmare, I was convinced that it was over now. I grabbed for my phone, desperate to hear her voice, her reassuring laugh chiding me for overreacting.

But of course that didn’t happen. Half way to the phone, I remembered the necklace. The music shaped urn necklace. I was scared to touch it. Maybe it wasn’t there… but if it was, it meant she was really gone.

I clutched the charm in my fist as the tears continued to burn and I remembered to thank her, even as painful is it was, as it is, as it will always be… she did come visit me.

Lyrics to These Dreams:

Spare a little candle
Save some light for me
Figures up ahead
Moving in the trees
White skin in linen
Perfume on my wrist
And the full moon that hangs over
These dreams in the mist

Darkness on the edge
Shadows where I stand
I search for the time
On a watch with no hands
I want to see you clearly
Come closer than this
But all I remember
Are the dreams in the mist

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

Is it cloak ‘n’ dagger
Could it be spring or fall
I walk without a cut
Through a stained glass wall
Weaker in my eyesight
The candle in my grip
And words that have no form
Are falling from my lips

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

There’s something out there
I can’t resist
I need to hide away from the pain
There’s something out there
I can’t resist

The sweetest song is silence
That I’ve ever heard
Funny how your feet
In dreams never touch the earth
In a wood full of princes
Freedom is a kiss
But the prince hides his face
From dreams in the mist

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

Songwriters

Read more: Heart – These Dreams Lyrics | MetroLyrics

(No) Doubt… Anymore!

via Daily Prompt: Doubt

I’m trying on the power of positivity!

This morning I was notified that it is my one year anniversary of this blog! I knew it was coming up, but not this fast… I was kind of…astounded. A whole year? Granted, this year has both flown by and drug on and on and on.

I’m posting under today’s word of the day, doubt because honestly? I doubted I’d stay with it this long. I’ve started several blogs, four, I think. I never posted more than once or twice before I either deleted my account or just abandoned it all together.

When I started WerdyNerdyNDirty, I had a vision of a simple extension of my somewhat offbeat, quirky personality and life. It was a good two months. Full of drive and deadlines (I’d given myself but still…) I found that instead of dreading my blog, I was more creative, less inhibited and basically “got over” my need for every word to be perfect. I used to be so caught up, thinking it had to come out organically inspirational or funny. There wasn’t room for editing. “Go big or go home” right? Not that there is anything wrong with going home, I was just tired of it. Tired of my rigid expectations…

It was mainly thanks to my writing teacher, Roxanne Sadovsky and our Friday morning groups that helped me to get over myself. Learn it’s ok to be raw, or even just be.

I couldn’t very well call myself a writer if I wasn’t writing. And I longed to write. I missed it. I’ve had a lot of fun writing for you and I know that I’ll be able to get better, the more I do it and it’ll be fun to look back in a few years to see how I’ve developed as a writer. I’m sure there’ll be quite a difference.

I been writing for this blog for a month and a half when I lost Noah. Blogging help me through it. As painful as it was to share and process, I’m sure it was an integral part of my process. A month and a half after that, we lost my sister Natalie.

Typing that last sentence still brings the sting of the tears. It’s so fitting that she LOVED the movie Alice in Wonderland (she even got married on the date printed on the Mad Hatters hat, 10/6!) because I feel like I’ve been free falling down the rabbit hole since May 19th. Prior to her death, the most devastating loss had been my grandma on Christmas Eve, 2009. Oh my God, I didn’t think I’d ever get over that. It took me years before I stopped having that dream where she was just on vacation. It was all a mistake. She was going to be so upset when she came home to find it had been sold while she was away…

I don’t really want to compare the two losses, there’s not really even a way. I never expected to lose my sister. My little sister. The light and the joy of so many people’s lives. Even knowing she’d relapsed, being the one telling her she was going to die if she didn’t cut it out… there was no way to prepare. A lot of days, it still feels like a brand new shock. Realizing it’s coming up on a year, it feels like a brand new level of Hell. Time is passing, life is going on, for others but somehow…I’m stuck. It’s still so fresh. People tell me “it gets better”, some tell me “it never gets easier” or “you’ll find a new normal”… I sure as shit hope “this” isn’t the new normal.

At least I think people have stopped telling me, for the most part, that “she’s in any pain. She’s in a better place” etc because hopefully they realized by telling me this, it made me think “I don’t want to be in pain. I want to be in a better place. I want to join her.” And then a timely quote literally fell into my lap. I dropped my phone and when I picked it up, it said “suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just gives it to someone else”. I don’t wish this kind of pain on anyone. So I write. And I cry. And I listen to her music. I try to take one day at a time, careful not to sleep through too many in a row and miss out on all the beauty that still surrounds us.

Wow, as we say in our family “that took a turn”. Meant to write about self-doubt and creativity… I guess this all applies. It’s given me purpose and direction. I hear that it helps other people too which is just icing on the cake. I hear Cheryl Strayed talk about how her mother’s death, as horrible as it was to lose her, made her a better person. As much as I don’t want to be a better person because of Natalie’s death, it would be much worse to stay the same.

I want to be an advocate and help others, I’m not sure I can do that just yet or what it will look like when I do get involved but I’ll keep y’all in the loop, no doubt about it.

Aware

via Daily Prompt: Aware

Today’s word of the day is: Aware. Awareness. It sounds like a good thing…to be aware of things but right now, I’m thinking it’s really close to the word beware, like, too close.

To be aware and present, to be mindful… it’s not all Buddhists and lotus flowers and Nirvana. It’s some of that…

It’s also pain. It’s suffering. It’s me, lying in my bed trying to curl up into a ball… becoming a tourniquet to prevent my heart from bleeding out onto the sheets. Who want’s to do THAT laundry? Not this girl.

I digress, I don’t want this to be a bummer post. I hadn’t realized how scary/upsetting my last post was but based on some feedback, it was bad and now I’m afraid to go back and look at what I wrote! I guess I was NOT very aware that day.

I am taking better care of myself. Taking meds when they are supposed to be taken, getting all of my insulin doses in, going to bed at a decent-ish time… I’ve even laid off of the Justice network, well, cut back considerably.

What about fun stuff? Glad you asked. I upgraded my phone… it was that time and I really surprised myself! I went with the iPhone (of course) 7. Plus.

omg

Seriously, I was as shocked as anybody.

For one thing, the phone is HUGE. I never thought it practical to have a phone so fucking big, it doesn’t fit into your pocket… well, it fits in my back pocket. I love the bigger screen. I’m sure I thought I could see fine on every other phone I’ve ever owned, but holy. shit. It’s so much easier to read and text (bigger keyboard)!

A cool feature I found are the “live tiles”. The wallpapers move. It works with photos too! I was taking pictures of the cats and I noticed when swiping between the pictures, I could actually SEE the cats turning their heads. It scared me at first. I thought maybe I was having  a dizzy spell… but I figured that couldn’t be it, know why? Because I’m taking care of myself! 😀 I showed Don, to make sure he saw it too. He did and told me to hold my finger down on the photo. I did and was blown away. I’m pretty sure I remember back before the phone was even released, Apple airing a commercial about the live photos but I didn’t really understand how it worked or why you’d want it. I still don’t know how it works, but it’s pretty freaking cool.

In addition to the phone, the sales girl was talking to me about headphones. Remember the number one drawback to the iPhone 7? No headphone jack. I don’t know what I was flipping out about. I should’ve figured Apple had my back. There is an adapter included. Crisis averted. In addition to the adapter, they’ve included their own set of earbuds with the appropriate connector for the 7 plus. For these reasons, I initially declined a second set of earbuds. Why I decided to do “this” when I had a time constraint is beyond me… oh yeah, I have a little bit of an impulsive side. So, honestly, this time crunch was working in T-Mobile’s favor and after hearing how much I’d “be saving because of the super low down payment” I conceded. Did I mention I had to be somewhere??? I wasn’t even really sure what all I’d done but I needed to leave.

“Can you sync these phones up for me?” I asked

“It’s in your Cloud” she said.

“Are you sure? I don’t exactly trust my Cloud…”

“It’s all there” she assured me.

“It’s just, I have pictures of my sister on this phone and she passed in May so I won’t get any more…”

“Ya know, let’s back it up just in case. Everything SHOULD be there but…”

“Thanks”

Since it was going to take awhile, she agreed to get everything set up for me. Case and screen protector on, earbuds sync’ed up etc. All I had to do was come pick it up when I was done with my group.

I signed (my life away, I’m sure) paperwork and flew outta there.

When I got home that night, Don wanted to know what all was in the bag. I wasn’t even entirely sure. I sat down and started to pull things out.

“What is this?” He said.

“Ear buds” I replied.

“These are Beats.  Beats by Dre.”

“So, if you know what they are, why are you asking me?”

“Do YOU know what these are?” he asked

“Ear buds”

“No. Well, yes but these are the top of the line. These are EXPENSIVE. Like, Natalie expensive.”

“Ok…”

“I’m just jealous is all.”

I take them from him and look them over. They were nice. Very nice. They are ear buds but you don’t have to wedge them into your ear holes. They perch just outside of the ear canal and hook over your ear so you don’t have to worry about them falling off. They are wireless. The sound AMAZING.

beats_by_dre_powerbeats_2_wireless_9

I kept turning the box over, looking for a price but there wasn’t one listed.

Well, I found the receipt today. Holy … Yeah, they’re Natalie expensive… and, I’m keeping them.

“Music is what feelings sound like”.

I didn’t really mean to turn this post into a plug for Apple or Dre but… it’s the majority of what I’ve been aware of lately.

Daily Prompt: Pretend

via Daily Prompt: Pretend

Today I was a nurse. Well, someone thought I was a nurse. I was at an Asian restaurant tonight, grabbing some lemon chicken. At the register, the cashier asked me how my night was. “Fine” I replied.

“Do you have any plans for the rest of the night?”

“Oh, um… I’m going to go home, eat and try to stay awake until it’s time for bed.”

He asked “Are you a nurse?”

I squinted in confusion as if the sun were in my eyes.

“No” I said, shaking my head slowly.

He nodded toward me, the left of me and I realized I was wearing my sweatshirt with the End the Epidemic logo I designed.

“Oh, because of the syringe?”

“Yeah, that and you look tired. And you mentioned trying to stay awake until it was time for bed…”

“Got it” I said. “No, I’m not a nurse. I just wear this sweatshirt because I lost my sister to the heroin epidemic in May.”

As I was speaking, I was also thinking, “wow, that was almost completely painless”.

“Oh my God” he said. “I’m so sorry. I have two sisters that were heavily into drugs in the 70’s. One has cleaned up, the other… she’s still kind of a mess.”

“I’m sorry to hear that” I said.

We talked for a few more minutes and by the time I got home, I realized the opportunity I’d wasted. Here’s how I imagined the conversation went, had I been a nurse.

“Are you a nurse?”

“Yes” I would say

“Where do you work?” He’d ask.

“Um, at a hospital?”

“What do you do there?”

“What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?”

spanish-inquisition

“Sorry, just trying to make polite conversation…”

“No, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to snap at you. I change bedpans, start IV’s, bring people ice chips… that kind of stuff.”

He would nod, thoughtfully.

Wow. That was WAY LESS INTERESTING than I’d imagined. And really? The first thing I think of for my job description is changing bedpans? WTF?